Al‐Suyūṭī (1445–1505) wrote on just about every discipline that had been recognized, in his time, as having its own method and subject matter. What is most noteworthy is that hay'a (cosmology, cosmography, but also astronomy) was among them. The author was in his own estimation an authority in the traditional Arabic and Islamic sciences (al‐˓ulūm al‐˓naqliyyah, transmitted sciences), especially in grammar, jurisprudence, and in tradition (ḥadīth, the Sayings of the Prophet), but in no way in those “Sciences of the Ancients” (al‐˓ulūm al‐˓aqliyyah), which had entered the libraries of Islamic culture through numerous translations from Greek, Syriac, Middle Persian, etc. He even expressed his special hatred for philosophy and logic. The title of his treatise, al‐Hay˒a al‐sanīya fī l‐hay˒a al‐sunnīya, already reveals the challenge he had in mind: his was to be the Islamic cosmology, based on authentic Islamic traditions, the Sunna, which so conveniently rhymed with sanīya(brilliant,...
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